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THE ART OF GETTING OUT OF POWER         259

*rere distressed and their "legs shook" with anger to hear their beloved
deceased emperor so defamed.

^ There was another interesting case concerning one of Su Tungpo's
poems, written years before when Su Tungpo was returning from the
Southern Capital, happy with the news that he had been granted per-
mission to settle at Changchow. While passing through Yangchow, he
bad scribbled three poems on the wall of a temple. Read as a whole,
the theme of these poems was unmistakable: after searching in vain
for a home, he was glad now to be permitted to retire and enjoy his
old age on a farm. In the third poem he wrote:

"Now I am free of all cares in this life,
And this year the farmers are promised good crops.
Coming down the hill, I hear the good news;
Even the flowers and birds wear a face of joy."

It happened, however, that this poem was written on May i, and the
Emperor Shentsung had died on March 5, fifty-six days before. Here
was this poet singing about his joy during the period of Imperial
mourning! What was he joyful about, and what did he mean by the
"good news"? Evidently it could not mean anything except the news
©f the Emperor's death. What a coward—what an ungrateful heart!
'This was probably the most serious impeachment of Su Tungpo in
this period and it was a very grave charge. I am sure the "good news'*,
in the light of the context, was no other than that of promising
harvests. But Tseyu invented, I think, a better defence of his brother.
During the testimony in 1091, Tseyu explained that Su Tungpo was
at the Southern Capital in March, where of course he had already
heard the news of the Emperor's death, and certainly he could not have
first heard it fifty-six days later at Yangchow. He told the Empress that
the "good news" referred to the fact that, coming down from the hill,
Su Tungpo had heard the farmers speak with joy about the ascension
to the throne of the bright young boy emperor. It made a better direct
appeal. Having given his own testimony, Tseyu withdrew from the
imperial presence and let the other officials fight it out.

Su Tungpo had the impression that the Empress had received a
good many more impeachments against him than he knew. She had
consistently put these impeachments on the shelf. He had demanded
the publication of all memorials against him so as to give him an
opportunity to clear himself, but the Empress never complied with his
request. He knew that his enemies were determined to overthrow him.
Even his drafting of the imperial edict 'decreeing the punishment of
the notorious double-crosser Huiching- was snatched at bv his enemies
as containing defamation of the preceding Emperor. He was rather